This is the fourth post in my marathon recap series. I ran The Austin Marathon on February 14th, 2010. I chose this race because my close childhood friend DJ was living in Austin at the time. I signed up for it on a whim when I found out he would be there during the time of the race. He was recently getting into running, so he decided to run the half marathon that day! I was SO excited!
But a few months after registering I ran the Marine Corps Marathon and then had less than 16 weeks to train for Austin. I found myself very tired after that race and it took a little while to get back into regular running. I also had yet to make a training plan. Then I met this guy:
And fell head over heels in love immediately! Needless to say, I was a little distracted. I found myself staying up later and spending my free time with him. I was happy and loving life. Sometimes life included running and sometimes it didn’t. I didn’t even keep track of my training during these months, so I actually have no idea what I did in terms of running. However, I do know that I started doing more of this:
And ate more of this:
And then winter hit and so did the blizzard of 2009 in December…
We got about 30 inches of snow and a lot of days off school, and northern Virginia became completely paralyzed. I was loving it!
Christmas break was wonderful, and I enjoyed even more yummy food and drinks, and the company of my amazing boyfriend and his family. I was still running but the days were few and far between. Kevin started biking next to me on my runs, which made me very happy. He knew I was more likely to go out if he was there so he was very supportive and willing to join me (just not on foot… yet). Somehow I managed to do a 20 mile run in January and Kevin biked by my side. It was the best 20 miler ever and it actually felt good!
Later in January I moved out of my apartment and into my friend’s apartment and Kevin came with me! Yes, there was more snow on moving day.
Living together was awesome but it did not motivate me to run. However, I knew I had a marathon coming up and I needed to do it. By this point, my training had consisted of random runs, a long run here and there, and I had about 10 extra pounds on my body. I had decided that I was going to go to Austin and run the race for fun and not worry about my time at all, which took a lot of the pressure off. I started to feel like I might not die in Austin. But then, MORE SNOW came in early February!
We got another 30 or so inches and once again, northern Virginia was paralyzed. I had almost two weeks of snow days and 2 hour delays and running was pretty much impossible. Where I moved to did not have a treadmill like my old apartment and I didn’t belong to a gym. So I just enjoyed the snow and tried not to worry.
The snow finally stopped and before I knew it I was on a plane to Austin. I flew in on Friday, and the race was on Sunday. When I got there DJ picked me up from the airport and we stopped at a scenic area to look over Lake Austin and the 360 Bridge.
It was beautiful! After that we got some dinner at an amazing brewery that I can’t remember the name of, and hit up the grocery store to get food supplies for the next few days. We also got some medicine, because I was feeling sick and super congested. We went back to his house that he was sharing with his 3 roommates and passed out on an air mattress.
The next morning we woke up and went to the expo downtown to pick up our race materials and walk around a little bit. It was awesome getting to take DJ to his first expo. He was loving all the free stuff and all the passionate runners that were there. After the expo we enjoyed the nice weather (so much better than the freezing temperatures and snow in Virginia!) and wandered around. We visited the Capitol Building and stood where the finish line would be the next day!
We didn’t want to walk too much because we knew we would be running the next day and I knew I would get a nice tour during the race. We went back to home to make a pre-race dinner and get our race stuff ready for the morning!
And then because I still wasn’t feeling very well, we passed out early… or at least I tried to. I was on the air mattress in the corner of DJ’s living room and since it was a Saturday night, his roommates came home late and continued the party in there. All I have to say is thank God for earplugs!
The next morning we woke up super early and got ready! DJ was so nervous and I was trying to make him feel better and more confident. This wasn’t just his first half marathon, this was his first race EVER! He has a go big or go home attitude!
I wasn’t nervous this time because I had removed the usual pressure from myself and told myself to enjoy it. I wasn’t even wearing my Garmin because it was broken at the time, but I didn’t care. That was a first for me!
DJ and I ate our Clif Bars and bananas and headed out to the start. We parked in a parking garage downtown then walked over. It was freezing outside and we had an hour to wait, so we huddled inside an open Starbucks along with lots of other runners. Finally it was time to head to the start line!
Since we were running different races we were in different corrals, so we wished each other good luck and said good bye. I went a few corrals up and he was behind me.
The race began and I loved it immediately. I felt so free running without knowing my pace or time. I had no worries and I kept the pace pretty slow and steady. I made sure to look around and take in the surroundings, because I have forgotten to do that in past races when I am focused on running.
The course was great and there were bands along the way to keep us pumped up. It was hilly at times, though! I threw off my long sleeved shirt not long after starting to run.
Right around mile 9 I heard someone call my name. It was DJ! He had caught up with me and was looking great. It was so great to see him and I was so proud of how well he was doing. We talked for a minute then he went ahead.
A little while later I got a text from him that he had finished in 2:10! Amazing time for a first half marathon!
Then he got some food, stretched, and waited for me to finish. The middle of the race for me was pretty uneventful. I was holding a steady pace and feeling fine. I was enjoying the scenery and all the spectators. I actually took the random food that people gave out for the first time during a race. I did decline the shots of whiskey and beer, though 🙂
At mile 22 it started to hurt but I pushed on. I just kept my pace slow and steady and told myself “Just keep running, just keep running”
Mile 25-26 were the hardest for me mentally. I kept pushing through and telling myself it would be over soon. Finally I saw the sign for mile 26!
I put a smile on my face and pushed as hard as I could for the last .2 miles.
I crossed the finish line in 4:32:07 and couldn’t be happier about it! I also got to see DJ right at the finish line cheering from the side!
It wasn’t my fastest marathon but it wasn’t my slowest either. It was an awesome, fun race for me! I quickly found DJ and we celebrated our accomplishments.
By this point it was very warm and we were HUNGRY! So we grabbed some Pita Pit and scarfed it down, then went back to DJ’s house for showers and naps. I woke up stiff and hungry again, so we ordered huge pizzas and fries and enjoyed every bite. We went to bed early that night because we knew we had a fun filled day planned the next day.
The next morning (Monday) we woke up bright and early to head downtown. Our plan was to celebrate by hitting up a bunch of bars in Austin. DJ was having a little trouble walking….
His hip flexors were really bothering him after the race. I felt bad, but it was also funny to watch him try to walk around!
I was on a mission to find some TEQUILA and some good Mexican food! And I definitely fulfilled my mission.
We had a great time on our little ‘bar tour’ of Austin. It is an awesome, lively, unique city that I can’t wait to visit again.
DJ has been one of my best friends since we were in second grade. Through the last 16 years we have remained close even though we didn’t always live close. I was so happy to be able to share this experience with him. I will never forget our race weekend together!
When I ran Austin I had already signed up for marathon #5. I knew exactly which race I needed to do next. It was a big one- THE NEW YORK CITY MARATHON! The best race experience of my life! That amazing story will be coming soon!